Doylestown, PA (October 17, 2013) – Over 150 community service leaders, non-profit organizations, and local governmental leaders attended the Foundations Community Partnership (www.fcpartnership.org) “Partnership in Youth Services” luncheon ceremony held at the Doylestown Country Club in Doylestown yesterday. The event honored 12 non-profit community programs in Bucks County that are making a difference in the lives of local children with monetary grants of $3,000 each.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Paul C. Light, NYU Wagner School of Public Service’s Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service and founding principal investigator of the Global Center for Public Service. He is the author of 25 books, including works on social entrepreneurship, the nonprofit sector, federal government reform, public service, and the baby boom. Dr. Light’s books include the award-winning Thickening Government and The Tides of Reform and Driving Social Change: How to Solve the World’s Toughest Problems.
“There are so many opportunities for making a difference and for making the world a better place in terms of civic engagement,” said Dr. Light. “The nonprofit sector never stops – there are always the needs of special populations to serve. I congratulate the nonprofit organizations that are contributing to solving the world’s toughest problems.”
Foundations executive director Ron Bernstein, keynote speaker Paul Light, Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia and Peggy Hanselman of the Foundations Board presented plaques and checks to the 12 local non-profit organizations. Among the community programs receiving grants were:
Athletes Helping Athletes – Therapeutic Equestrian Program, Richboro
“Athletes Helping Athletes” will use the funding for a new therapeutic equestrian program for special needs children whose families are unable to afford the cost. The introductory program will be administered through four stables, Special Equestrian in Warrington, Ivy Hill in Perkasie, Pegasus in NE Phila. and Parkwood in NE Phila. The program will consist of unmounted activities such as grooming, therapeutic riding demonstrations, and stable related fun activities to initiate familiarity between the stables and horses and the children. The program’s initial aim is expose children to Therapeutic Riding, which can enhance physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral skills. As with other Athletes Helping Athletes activities, the program will couple mainstream athletes with the special needs children in an environment neither would otherwise experience, inspiring them to form lasting relationships.
Bowman’s Hill Wildlife Preserve – Children’s Reading Program, New Hope
The Bowman’s Hill Wildlife Preserve (BHWP) Children’s Reading Program was developed in 2004 in response to increased interest by visiting families for more educational children’s programming and to better realize their core mission of education. Today, the reading program serves more than 300 children and their families, with a renewed focus on special needs children. It has expanded to also include Fall Fun Fridays and Winter Wonder Wednesdays. These additional reading program extensions provide a well-rounded look at habitats in winter, summer, and fall. Each session has a unique theme for readings of children’s books about our natural environment, followed by nature hikes on the trails in search of the plants and animals in the stories. Children also participate in nature themed craft activities that they may take home. BHWP believes that all children, and specifically special needs children, will experience lasting benefits of healthier moods, increased attention, and overall improved mental and physical health by spending time in nature.
Bristol Riverside Theater – Artrageous, Bristol
ArtRageous is a unique 6-week summer program for at-risk youth in Bristol, PA. The camp stimulates creative thinking in a fun and structured environment, building basic life skills and increasing self-esteem and self-efficacy through the performing arts. Areas of study include acting, dance, yoga, storytelling, voice, writing, and poetry. Students and teaching artists work together to develop original performance pieces showcased in a final performance evening. More than half the kids in the program are from single-parent families, and nearly 1/5 of the students have a documented learning disability. ArtRageous aims to deter negative behavior, increase self-esteem and self-efficacy, and teach creativity and imagination as a means of boosting the ability to improve impulse control. For many, this program is their only access to the arts and the only opportunity for safe, expression of their hopes and dreams.
Bucks County Children’s Museum Educational Programming – Field Trips and “Exploration for All” Open Houses, New Hope
The Bucks County Children’s Museum will use the PYS grant to support educational programming for field trips and “Exploration for All” free open houses. Approximately 4,000 children from communities across Bucks County have visited the museum and taken part in educational field trips, and the museum held its first private open house event for families with children who function within the spectrum of autism. Field trip programs occur during general operating hours and focus on providing developmentally appropriate experiences that encourage children’s play, enrich vocabulary, and enhance overall learning. “Exploration for All” will offer private open houses to families with children with autism spectrum disorders. This will allow them to enjoy field trip experiences with their children when the museum is closed to the general public, thereby reducing anxiety of families that might be reluctant to visit during busy general admission hours.
Central Bucks Family YMCA – Darkness to Light, Doylestown
Central Bucks Family YMCA’s “Darkness to Light” effort will identify and train 13 representatives from youth-serving organizations and/or county residents as Facilitators in the Darkness to Light “Stewards of Children” program. Each volunteer will be asked to provide a minimum of one, free training per month over the next 18 months. Each training will provide instruction to a minimum of 10 adult Bucks County residents in how to recognize, prevent, and react responsibly to cases of child sexual abuse. The program’s goal is to train approximately thirty-one thousand, or 5%, of Bucks County residents by the end of 2014.
Chandler Hall Health Services – Music Education for Child Development, Newtown
Chandler Hall’s Child Development Program (CDP) offers an exceptional early education curriculum in a nurturing, generationally diverse environment. The primary goal is to increase the music appreciation of CDP participants. The funding will support two programs that will provide cultural enrichment to the children at Chandler Hall in the upcoming 12 months: 1. A year-round music program for CDP participants aged 1-5, and 2. A theater workshop for youth aged 6-12 at Chandler Hall’s Summer Camp. The goal of the theater program is to increase the campers’ appreciation for the dramatic arts, which will be measured by informal interviews to be administered before and after the program.
Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth – Social Norms Campaign, Newtown
Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth will partner with all three middle schools in the Council Rock School District to conduct a Social Norms Campaign on underage drinking prevention. The campaign is based on the social norm theory, which suggests that much of people’s behavior is influenced by their perception of how other members of their social group behave. Often, these perceptions are incorrect. Behaviors perceived as normal, even if unhealthy and not actually the norm, are behaviors members of the social group strive to adopt. This negatively affects overall behavior for that group. By educating a group about positive behavior that is in fact the normal practice among peers, research shows that behavior will be affected in a positive manner. Students will conduct the campaign over a three-month period with social media, promotional marketing, and positive messages using facts from the youth survey.
Gilda’s Club Delaware Valley, Inc. – Noogieland, Warminster
Named for the noogies Bill Murray gave Gilda Radner on “Saturday Night Live,” Noogieland is a kid-friendly place where children and teens can learn, play, and share in peer support groups, hands-on workshops, and social events. Noogieland’s signature programs are Kid Support at Gilda’s Club and Straight Talk About Cancer. The kid’s support program is for children ages 4 to 12 who have cancer themselves or who have a parent, grandparent, other family member, or friend with cancer. Gilda’s Club offers two such groups a year at Noogieland, each of which meets weekly for 10 weeks. Straight Talk About Cancer is designed for teens up to 18 years old, and it provides high school students the opportunity to meet twice a month at their school with peers who are dealing with cancer in their lives. Straight Talk also offers monthly group meetings at Gilda’s Club where all the high school groups can come together, enabling the teens to form a wider peer support network. The 360 participants in the Noogieland program will gain knowledge about cancer, its impact on families, and how to handle changes brought by cancer in family life.
NHS Cares & PSIC (Positive Student Interactions and Choices) – Positive Youth Development Project, New Hope
NHS Cares has been serving the New Hope-Solebury community since 2009 as a community coalition, focusing on preventing youthful drug and alcohol use and abuse. In 2012, a New Hope Solebury High School sophomore created an organization called P.S.I.C.- Positive Student Interactions and Choices. Her belief was that by excluding harmful substances from their lives, students have a better chance to nourish happiness and self-confidence. P.S.I.C. strives to eliminate the glorification of drugs and alcohol by promoting alternative positive activities. Since its inception, this visionary student has been leading a group of her peers by organizing positive activities and has worked with NHS Cares to reach her fellow students on the consequences of drug and alcohol use. NHS Cares will use grant funds to expand these efforts. A high school population of 500 students would be reached through speakers, messaging, and programming about positive alternatives to drug and alcohol use. Youth will also be engaged through a music café in the school and performance opportunities in the community.
Peaceful Living – Creative Gifts Bucks County, New Britain
Peaceful Living’s Creative Gifts Montgomery County location has seen great success in using iPads to help individuals with autism and other disabilities communicate with their caregivers and others in the community. The grant will help bring that technology to new clients at their Bucks County site. Staff and parents will be trained on how the apps work to open communication lines specific to each person’s unique needs. The iPad minis will also make Individual Service Plan (ISP) tracking for individuals available when they are out and about in the community, allowing staff to more easily track each individual’s progress on the go in a less stigmatizing way. This technology will improve the quality of data that is recorded about individuals in real time, which will ultimately allow them to improve programming using apps that help with sequencing, creating picture schedules, and other useful tools.
S.A.G.E. Senior Adults for Greater Education – Palisades Project, Newtown
Palisades School District has an initiative to give low-income seniors the opportunity to receive a $500.00 Property Tax rebate for volunteering 40 hrs a school year. Called the P.E.A.R.L. program, it is an important option for seniors who are having trouble staying in their homes due to rising costs. But the district needs additional support to expand and develop the program to its full potential. SAGE (Senior Adults for Greater Education) will utilize its 14 years of working with senior volunteers to support the program. SAGE will recruit and train an additional 10 volunteers to participate in the PEARL program. Training will focus on the skills needed to address the academic and social-emotional needs of at-risk and special needs children. They will also place and support senior volunteers in Elementary School “Breakfast Clubs” for children who are at risk and who need academic support and social skills. The clubs will provide a supportive and family-like atmosphere, while helping students with homework, organizing and planning.
Woods Services – Girl Power Club 2014, Langhorne
Girl Power Club is a weekly after-school program for girls ages 14–21, similar to the Girlfriends Club run by Planned Parenthood of Bucks County. Woods Services, in Langhorne, PA will use the grant to replicate this program for adolescent girls who reside at Woods. Participants are special needs adolescents with developmental and mental health issues who are at risk for teen pregnancy, STDs, abuse, low self-esteem, alcohol/drug problems and school drop-out. To combat these problems, Girl Power Club, guided by a mental health professional, and an Educator from Planned Parenthood, will provide sexuality, life skills education, mentoring, role modeling, team building exercises, leadership training and access to educators and recreational/cultural activities in a safe and healthy environment. During the 12-week grant period, the club will meet weekly with two groups of girls, up to 8 in each group for one-hour sessions. Girls will participate, with permission from guardians for those under 18, and participate in field trips & presentations by role-modeling and motivational speakers.
The Morris M. Davis Award is an award and $1,500 scholarship given annually to a student intern whose contributions to the community are judged to be an outstanding example. The award was presented to Newtown resident Danielle Morabito, who worked at the Bucks County Children’s Museum through Foundations Community Partnership’s Summer Youth Corps and is attending Messiah College.
“Foundations is proud to offer community grants for the 15th year in a row through our Partnership in Youth Services Program,” said Bernstein. “It is very rewarding to be able to support the Bucks County non-profits that are fulfilling the health and human service needs of our young people.”
Sponsors of the program included:
Bank of America, Theodora B. Betz Foundation, Bishop & Associates, Inc., Davis Trachtenberg, Inc., First Niagara Bank, The Carl Koenig Family, Merrill Lynch Doylestown Office, Dr. Christina Carson Sacco and Family
AXA Foundation, The Bernstein Family, William E. Boger, CPA, The Center for Neuropsychology and Counseling, First Savings Banking- Insurance- Investments, Limor Goodman, PC, Magellan Behavioral Health of PA, Inc., Charles H. Rose, CLU, CHFC, Dr. Joseph Stella & Family, Tilley Fire Equipment Company
Advanced Furniture Services Group, Astro Dynamic Print & Graphic Services, Bucks County Herald, Catalyst Center for Nonprofit Management, County Builders, Inc., J. Douglas Riva , Ronald J. Smolow, Attorney At Law, Superior Woodcraft Inc., D.E. Thompson Family, LLC
Advanced Micro Computer Specialists, Inc., Antheil Maslow & MacMinn, LLP, Boucher & James, Inc., Consulting Engineers, Brody Public Relations, Bucks County Bank, Bucks County Community College Foundation, The Carducci Family, The Friedman Family, The Grillone Family, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hanna, In The Bag Catering, Mert & Monte’s, Dr. Nancy Miller and Family, J. Carroll Molloy Realtor, Paychex, Inc., The Present Company, LLC, The Schultes Family, The Scott Family, Stonewall Services, LLC, Thompson Networks, David Velasco Salon, The Vosgerichian Family, The Wagner Family, The Weldon Family, The Zagerman Family, Zateeny Loftus, LLP.
Beth Brody, Brody PR